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NorthWestern Corp., doing business as NorthWestern Energy, and Compass Wind LLC have closed on the purchase of the 40 MW Spion Kop wind project near the central Montana community of Geyser.

The Montana Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved placement of the $86.1 million project into the NorthWestern Energy's regulated rate base in mid-February, and the project was placed into commercial operation earlier this month. Both the energy and associated renewable energy credits will be used to meet Montana's 15% by 2015 renewable portfolio standard.

Under the terms of the filing with the MPSC, which included a 10% authorized return on equity, a 5% estimated cost of debt and a capital structure of 52% debt and 48% equity, this project represents an approximate levelized price of $54/MWh for a 25-year period, according to NorthWestern. Spion Kop Wind will now be subject to an MPSC prudency review of the project's construction costs, and NorthWestern expects the review to be completed during 2013.




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